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No Effect of Muscle Stretching within a Full, Dynamic Warm-up on Athletic Performance

BLAZEVICH, ANTHONY, J.1; GILL, NICHOLAS, D.2; KVORNING, THUE3; KAY, ANTHONY, D.4; GOH, ALVIN, G.1; HILTON, BRADLEY1; DRINKWATER, ERIC, J.5; BEHM, DAVID, G.6

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: June 2018 - Volume 50 - Issue 6 - p 1258–1266
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000001539
APPLIED SCIENCES

Purpose This study aimed to examine the effects of static and dynamic stretching routines performed as part of a comprehensive warm-up on flexibility and sprint running, jumping, and change of direction tests in team sport athletes.

Methods A randomized, controlled, crossover study design with experimenter blinding was conducted. On separate days, 20 male team sport athletes completed a comprehensive warm-up routine. After a low-intensity warm-up, a 5-s static stretch (5S), a 30-s static stretch (30S; 3 × 10-s stretches), a 5-repetition (per muscle group) dynamic stretch (DYN), or a no-stretch (NS) protocol was completed; stretches were done on seven lower body and two upper body regions. This was followed by test-specific practice progressing to maximum intensity. A comprehensive test battery assessing intervention effect expectations as well as flexibility, vertical jump, sprint running, and change of direction outcomes was then completed in a random order.

Results There were no effects of stretch condition on test performances. Before the study, 18/20 participants nominated DYN as the most likely to improve performance and 15/20 nominated NS as least likely. Immediately before testing, NS was rated less “effective” (4.0 ± 2.2 on a 10-point scale) than 5S, 30S, and DYN (5.3–6.4). Nonetheless, these ratings were not related to test performances.

Conclusion Participants felt they were more likely to perform well when stretching was performed as part of the warm-up, irrespective of stretch type. However, no effect of muscle stretching was observed on flexibility and physical function compared with no stretching. On the basis of the current evidence, the inclusion of short durations of either static or dynamic stretching is unlikely to affect sprint running, jumping, or change of direction performance when performed as part of a comprehensive physical preparation routine.

1School of Medical and Health Sciences and Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, AUSTRALIA;

2Faculty of Health, Sport and Human Performance, University of Waikato, Hamilton, NEW ZEALAND;

3Team Denmark, Copenhagen, DENMARK;

4School of Health, The University of Northampton, Northampton, UNITED KINGDOM;

5School of Exercise and Nutrition Science, Centre for Sport Research, Deakin University, Melbourne, AUSTRALIA; and

6School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, CANADA

Address for correspondence: Anthony J. Blazevich, Ph.D., School of Medical and Health Sciences and Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, Edith Cowan University, 270 Joondalup Drive, Joondalup 6027, Australia; E-mail: a.blazevich@ecu.edu.au.

Submitted for publication November 2017.

Accepted for publication December 2017.

Supplemental digital content is available for this article. Direct URL citations appear in the printed text and are provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal’s Web site (www.acsm-msse.org).

© 2018 American College of Sports Medicine